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Singapore - Food Courts & Hawker Centres

Singapore - Food Courts & Hawker Centres

Nov 20th, 2008, 01:39 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 11
Singapore - Food Courts & Hawker Centres

Hi All,

Planning a week long holiday in Singapore in Dec. during Christmas. Will be staying at Intercontinental Hotel. We are very keen on eating at the food courts / hawker centres. Kindly advise something that is conveniently located near our hotel. Any place we can go for a steamboat buffet. We all love prawns & crabs. Any suggestions. Not looking a high ends restaurants in five star hotels. Kindly let us know what we must tell the taxi drivers.
sherryskp is offline  
Nov 20th, 2008, 06:34 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,689
You hotel is in or near some of the most interesting ethnic neighborhoods in Singapore, IMO, and is well-located for walking to many local restaurants, so I would not worry about what to tell the taxi drivers (and the taxi drivers all speak good English in any event and know the town sights very well). You can take the subway or bus to others, or a taxi if you want. Your hotel is also attached to the Bugis Junction mall development (where the Bugis subway stop is also located), which has many eateries, these are not expensive for the most part, but IMO a little bit ersatz street-food, but certainly pleasant and a good alternative if it is raining (can happen in December) as the complex is covered, see http://www.bugisjunction-mall.com.sg/

For hawker centres generally, there are guidebooks to the hawker/street food places in Singapore, you might want to get one. Besides Newton Circus Hawker Centre on Scotts Road (MTR stop: Newton) , which is quite well-known, you could try Gluttonís Bay which is down along the waterfront Esplanade (MTR stop: City Hall; it is walkable from your hotel as well). This is a collection of some of the best outlets in the city, and is in a pleasant setting on the waterfront. This location which would give you a good view of the city skyscrapers and bits of the colonial areas, and is also near the Singapore Flyover. Many years ago there was a collection of hawkers near here called the Satay Club, and Gluttonís Bay is quite reminiscent to me of that. For a somewhat more atmospheric place for dinner, but still inexpensive, it is the best choice, IMO.

Below are some suggestions for neighborhood restaurants and hawker centres near your hotel.

Arab Street Area

There is a large hawker centre at the intersection of Albert and Waterloo Street, which would be a few blocks up and over from your hotel. (Waterloo Centre, 261 Waterloo Street). Lots of Malay and Muslim hawker stalls there. The hotel may have suggestions for other closer ones, but the Waterloo Street one is really not very far.

Two restaurants to consider would be below, but the whole area running north and south of North Bridge Road in the area of the Sultan Mosque is worth walking and just seeing what restaurant would interest you, and there are little shop houses that are charming:

Zam Zam
99 North Bridge Rd,
Tel: 6298-7011
A well-known old Singapore restaurant, Malay-Muslim food. Across the street from the Sultan Mosque.

Amirah's Grill
Pahang Street
Tel: 6344 1610

Very casual, not a lot of ambience, but very good Middle-Eastern food. Not expensive. They have a roof terrace. As with many Halal restaurants, they do not serve alcohol.

Little India

You can walk to Little India, it is a few blocks. In the Singapore heat, it may seem like a long walk, but it really is not, and it is flat. You can also take a bus (please ask your hotel), or a taxi, the latter two options would only take maybe 5 -10 minute at the most.

There are hawker stalls in the Golden Mile Complex, many of these are Thai and are good.

Banana Leaf Apollo
78 Race Course Road
Tel: 6293-8682

A Singapore institution. Excellent curry served on a fresh banana leaf. Iíve been crazy about it since 1986. The Fish Head Curry is a must.

Madras New Woodlands
12/14 Upper Dickson Road
tel: 297 1594

Extremely cheap and cheerful, vegetarian. Very good.

Usman Restaurant
238 Serangoon Road
Tel: 6296 8949

Pakistani food, very casual. Not expensive. A client in Lahore actually told me about this one, and I tried it for the first time recently.

Sungei Road Laksa
27 Jalan Berseh
Unit #01-100 Jin Shui Kopitiam

Some people think this is the best Laksa in Singapore, I have to say its pretty darn good.


This is not really walkable from your hotel, and will require you to take a subway, bus or taxi. (Subway stop is Kallang or Aljunied, two/three stops up from Bugis.) There are little alleys, called ďLorsĒ each with a number, running north and south off Geylang, there are hawker stalls and outdoor restaurants all along Geylang and down the Lors (and there are some brothels too, but they are almost all on the even numbered Lors running north off Geylang, and the area is quite safe, itís the sanitized version of prostitution sort-of). I like the Beef Kway Teow Place at Lor 9 (called simply Beef Kway Teow), and at Lor 11 is the Fo You Yuan Vegetarian that is very good. Really, just walk along and try what looks good, itís hard to get a bad meal, and you wonít spend a lot of money.


I would take a taxi or bus to the string of seafood outlets in East Coast Park. My only caveat is donít order too much, as some places will encourage you to over-order: start off with a few dishes and you can always order more as you go along. One dish fewer than the number of diners plus a vegetable is a good way to start (unless there are only 2 of you then get 2 dishes and a veg). A famous and good place to try would be Long Beach Seafood (see http://www.longbeachseafood.com.sg/), but really any along the strip on the beach there would be fine, IMO.

Let me check around on the steamboat; I think Chinatown (South Bridge Road) or East Coast seafood places may be your best bet. It has been some years since I have had steamboat there, but I will check with some friends in Sípore and see what they recco.

Cicerone is offline  
Nov 20th, 2008, 09:07 PM
Original Poster
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Posts: 11
Hi Cicerone,

Thanks for the fantastic update. You are really well informed. We are not really keen on eating vegetarian food. Please see if you could get some details as regards the steamboat buffet. That would be really nice. It would be worth trying and a lovey experience for the kids too.

I read somewhere that in the seafood buffets there are long queues for getting on to the prawn/lobsters and you need to clean them yourself. Do these stall provide the crab crackers to crack the shell? Just for info, what do you order with the crab to eat the gravy, is it a bread? What is this called? or does it come with the crab dish?

Also, what do you recommend eating in pork. We love eating pork.

Thanks once again.

sherryskp is offline  
Nov 24th, 2008, 02:47 AM
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 5
If you are in the CBD (Central Business District) Far East Pavilion and of course La Pue Sat (sp), 100 years in business tells you something. The rolls served with Chili or Pepper crab should be a meal themselves and the previous poster forgot to mention Geylang is the red light district, if you make it over there (2 stops on the green line from your hotel) make sure you try some durian. Chili /Pepper Crab on East Coast Park are great place to eat on the beach and watch the oil tankers pass.
RonJon2U is offline  
Nov 24th, 2008, 06:14 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
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S-with a week in S-pore, you should definitely go eat Black pepper Crab at Eng Seng. This is a GREAT place. The crab is so good that you will find yourself munching on the shells just to get more of the sauce. It opens at 5:30 p.m.. You should be there before 5:45 p.m. at the latest. A line forms and they close when they run out of crabs. BTW, make sure you bring an entire pack of napkins or a roll of paper towels. This is a singular dining experience and not to be missed.
Gpanda is offline  
Nov 24th, 2008, 05:46 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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sherryskp: if you want pork, obviously you will not be eating in the Arab Street area. You probably want to stick to Chinatown (South Bridge Road area) and Chinese restaurants (all over town) as well as Western restaurants. Really, you will find pork on virtually every Chinese menu (except vegetarian of course), so you wonít have any trouble locating pork dishes.

For steamboat, my Sípore sources suggest the following:

Any COCA outlet, see http://www.coca.com.sg/ for locations.

7th Storey Hainan Charcoal Steamboat
229 Rochor Road
(in the New 7th Storey Hotel)
Tel: (65) 6333 4900

This would be a block or two from your hotel.

The Magic of Chongguing Hotpot
19 Tanglin Road
#04-06 Tanglin Shopping Centre
Tel: 6734 8135
(could not find website)

Some steamboat places are buffet, so yes, I would imagine that there would be a line. Others are sit-down and you order off the menu. Yes, crab and other shellfish are usually served in the shell, and crackers are provided. But for steamboat it is usually already cut up into pieces that can be put into the pot, so further cracking may not be necessary.

With regard to the crab and ďgravyĒ I am not sure I totally understand the question. It would dependent how the crab is cooked: pepper crab does not really have a gravy and you donít need it. Chili crab is sometimes served with crackers here in Hong Kong, but I donít recall it being served that way in Sípore, but I am sure that the restaurant would give you crackers or bread if you wanted it. Some crab are steamed with noodles and does come with its own gravy, but you donít really need bread, just use a spoon (again I am sure they would give you bread or crackers if you asked, there may be a separate charge for those.)

As for Geylang being a ďred lightĒ district, that is true in only the mildest sense of the word. It is certainly not like Amsterdam with prostitutes sitting in the windows. And its not like what 8th Avenue in NYC used to be like years ago with peep shows and drug addicts. Itís quite discrete, and generally the brothels are only on the even numbered Lors running north off Geylang, so if you really want to avoid them, just stick to the odd-numbered streets. It is also quite safe.

Cicerone is offline  
Nov 24th, 2008, 09:29 PM
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 585
The 7th Storey Hotel is closing..not sure if it's been closed yet.

As for chilli crab, normally it's eaten with mantou (chinese bun either steamed or fried)

As for Geylang, it's no longer confined to some side streets due to the influx of 'foreign talent' from mainland China and other parts of the region. The business area has spread.

KMLoke is offline  
Nov 25th, 2008, 01:45 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
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My memory is that Eng Seng is at Juchiat Place (off of Juchiat Road) and Stoll Road.
Gpanda is offline  
Nov 25th, 2008, 04:12 AM
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I was actually disappointed with Glutton's Bay. The food was pretty good and it is a great option if you are at the Flyer, but I found the selection inferior to the larger hawker centres.

I actually really liked Newton Circus. I always see warnings about it being a rip-off, but I found the quality and selection worth any premium you pay. Yeah, some of the touts can be a bit omnipresent, but once you settle on one, it isn't so bad. Indeed, it can be nice not having to carry your own tray and having table service for drinks.

For a more local vibe, though, I really like Maxwell Road and Lau Pa Sat.
travelgourmet is online now  
Nov 25th, 2008, 03:08 PM
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 585

Should be Joo Chiat Place and Still Road.


If you're brave enough to try durians there's a shop selling durians and other fruits just across the road from Eng Seng.

Lots of info on food in Singpaore here.


For good food check out the Old Airport Road Food Center and the food center in Chinatown.

KMLoke is offline  
Nov 29th, 2008, 12:47 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,158
Ah! I didn't know that the fried bread is called Mantou. Yum....it was fantastic with Chili Crab. I didn't care for the Black Pepper Crab because the spiciness was SO overwhelming, I couldn't taste the crab itself. The Chili Crab, however, is something I crave often. If I remember correctly, we had to have a second order of bread to sop up all that wonderful sauce.

We had a great time at Lau Pa Sat. It was SO huge. Newton Hawker Center was smaller, but still quite good.

Does anyone know if you can bring your own wine to the hawker centers?
MelissaHI is offline  
Nov 29th, 2008, 03:19 PM
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 585

Haven't seen anyone try but don't think anyone will stop you. May need to bring your own glasses.
KMLoke is offline  
Dec 1st, 2008, 08:50 PM
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Posts: 4,466
just came back from an unexpected couple of days in Singapore. Eng seng was closed till Tuesday so we went for black pepper crab at long beach, lovely.... also had chilli crab, kai lan (my favourite) and bamboo clams. Really great food very very busy though. (it was a saturday night)
Smeagol is offline  
May 20th, 2009, 07:26 PM
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 3
hey sherryskp!

if you are keen on trying out the local delights in Singapore, i can recommend you a restaurant that offers 20 local delights served in sampler portion at AFFORDABLE PRICE!

the name of the restaurant is called 'it's all about taste' restaurant and is located inside the IBIS HOTEL at the bencoolen street. from the menu, you can choose up to 3, 4 or 5 dishes at a go!

the must eats are chilly crab, char kway teow, chicken rice, and the list goes on..

i personally have tasted around 6 dishes on the menu already, and will be going back for more.

hope this helps!
shuhay is offline  
May 20th, 2009, 07:30 PM
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 3
opps adding on, the ibis Singapore on bencoolen is a 5 to 10 mins walk away from Intercontinental.
shuhay is offline  
May 20th, 2009, 07:32 PM
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sherryskp left Singapore 5 months ago.
Hanuman is offline  

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